CRT votes are in, but the turnout is low
SUPPORTERS OF HISTORIC BOATS, cruising clubs, the Inland Waterways Association and continuous cruising have been successful in the election for boater representatives on the Canal & River Trust’s Council. However, disappointingly few eligible boaters voted. The winning candidates were: Andrew Phasey, Commodore of St Pancras Cruising Club Phil Prettyman, Chair of the Historic Narrow Boat Club Stella Ridgway, continuous cruiser Vaughan Welch, of IWA navigation and restoration committees. There were also elections in three other categories: the new place representing CRT volunteering went to Ian McCarthy, a volunteer lockkeeper. Two seats for boating businesses were won by Nigel Hamilton (of H& H Training and Consulting Service and Chair of British Marine Tourism) and floating trader Andrew Tidy of the Jam Butty. Finally, the one place for CRT staff went to John Ellis, National Fisheries Manager.
None of the candidates secured the necessary five valid nominations for the new representative of the Friends of CRT; unsuccessful candidate Nicola Benjamin has therefore been co-opted for a two-year period, with a by-election planned for autumn 2017.
CRT Chairman Allan Leighton thanked “all those who put themselves forward for election, and all those who voted for them”. However, the numbers of both of these were lower than last time.
The boater representatives’ election was open to all 12-month licence holders, plus those who had been put on shorter-term licences by CRT as part of its action on ‘non-compliant continuous cruisers’ – in fact the election had to be extended for an extra six days as a result of an initial failure to include those boaters in the mailouts. That makes a total of 27,280 – but just 1,860 ( 6.8%) of them actually voted.
That compares to 7,556 boaters (26%) at the last elections in 2012, when there were 33 candidates on offer compared with eight this time. Meanwhile the turnout for boating business fell from 37% to 11.1% and for employees from 44% to 25.8%.
The new council, comprising the winners, those nominated by bodies, and the regional CRT partnership chairs, meets in March.